Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC is in need of three points on Sunday at BC Place, and the club couldn't have asked for a much better opponent than last-place Chivas USA.
With the Western Conference playoff race shaping up to be extremely tight, a poor stretch of results at this time of the season could prove costly, and that is what the Whitecaps will be hoping to avoid with three points on Sunday.
Vancouver has lost its last two games, including a 1-0 defeat last time out against the Los Angeles Galaxy which dropped the team into seventh place.
That followed a 2-0 setback in Colorado against the Rapids, making it very clear how much the club needs forward Camilo to return the lineup.
"In a game like that today, where it's really tight, a player like Camilo is someone who could make a difference," Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie said after the Galaxy defeat. "The key thing is he's not going to be out for long because what we didn't want to do was play him today and then have him missing more games and then limping through the rest of the season."
Camilo has scored 14 goals with five assists this season, making him by far the leading scorer on the team.
And against a suspect Chivas defense, the Brazilian will be anxious to return to the field.
As bad as Chivas has been this season the club is coming off of a 3-2 win over Red Bull New York, its second victory in the past 20 matches.
The game marked the first time since April 27 that Chivas has scored more than one goal in a game, with forward Erick Torres finding the net twice against New York.
The 20-year-old Torres is a product of the Chivas Guadalajara system, and he was instantly thrown into the starting 11 upon his arrival, scoring a goal in each of his first two games.
"We talked about [needing to score] this week," said Torres after Sunday's win. "That we needed to close out games and go in search of goals, be it two or three. I think the team today had that mentality, that hunger to go for more and had a good reaction after they tied us and the result was favorable. I felt the change to a 4-4-2 also helped me more. With Julio [Morales] there [at forward] I felt a little more comfortable, more accompanied. It's about continuing to work and adapting to what the coaching staff asks of us."
Chivas is the only team in the conference without a real chance at reaching the playoffs, but it doesn't mean the team isn't capable of spoiling someone else's opportunity.